Thursday, December 31, 2009

hand stitching revival

Seven days of blogging continued...

Sheesh. I just realised that because of the time difference it looks like i didn’t blog daily like i said i would. Ptooey to that. I have blogged daily, i have! Been busting my ass in a very busy time in fact. You’ll have to take my word for it, or do the international date line math.

It’s New year’s Eve here in NZ. Late at night and I am fresh back from a sweet gathering, have tucked the small one into peaceful sleep after a fun day’s play and am sitting drinking tea listening to the surf and wrapping the silence of a still house around me. I imagine 12 o’clock might find me at my sewing machine, sewing myself a little something that has been cut out and waiting for oooh, awhile now. Just where i want to be tonight.

These two stitchings emerged while i was down south. I have plans for each. Watch this space.

Once upon a time i made clothes all by hand and these purses (scroll down once you click the link) to augment my street performing busking. I haven't used emb thread since. We're talking 15 years here. I picked up some embroidery thread and dipped into my stash for some beautifully soft linen and vintage cotton scraps to have some sewing to do while i was away. It’s a sanity thing. It worked a treat. I was inspired by having handwork to do at odd moments when i was stitching Jed’s name into his bag. With child on the loose it is about learning to find moments and ride them for all their worth, rather than those chunks of time i used to think i needed to create in.

The finished bag.



He was excited about it. Is possessive about it, but shows no sign of wanting to use it yet.


There i was, out in the world thinking about how i'd like to take this handstitching milarky further when i stumbled across a ridiculous clearance sale of embroidery thread. I stocked up. I am all inspired now to learn some new tricks other than my one stitch wonder embroidery.



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

the colours of summer


Loving these colours.

There are bowls of fruit everywhere in the house. I just love the look of them. Apricots, blueberries, plums, plums and plums, nectarines...i dream of this bounty in the heart of winter and here we are, in the middle of it. All from roadside or friends trees too.

I have never grown beetroot before. To be honest, i was never keen on it, until now. Fresh from my garden and freshly grated onto spinach leaves. Delish. And those colours!

Seven days of posting and on a roll, i could so easily blog daily, material is not the issue, as you could imagine. Beauty is just everywhere.

Kinda still landing, after getting home from our trip down south and enjoying our housefull of guests. Everyone left today and Jed and i just pottered at home. Lots of cuddles, hut making, reading in nests, doing our own projects in between hanging, laughing, letting go of lists of things to do, good food, all that fruit. A good day. Much on my mind, but a good day.

I'm so glad i let go of that list of things to do today.

Monday, December 28, 2009

down south - part two


We went for a walk or two. Came over the hill to this beautiful beach. Stayed there and played and rested a good long while. New Zealand is so good at the extreme beauty in nature thing.
On spotting my first trial of taking some embroidering out and about with me... a notable quote from Jed, "Sewing? On the beach?! Ha, funny mama...i got a funny mama"...as he wandered back to the water shaking his head.

'poppy' seaweed.



A huhu beetle! Can't see the scale in this pic but these suckers are big ole beetles. I was excited, never seen one before.



Cave time with Grandad.

Where i didn’t have the camera was my morning of mama-time. Hanna and i drove into the Nelson markets on the Saturday. Oh, i do love a good rummage. Lovely to share it with a friend and the sunshine.
It was my great pleasure to chat with Amelia of Bella threads and Shelley of Atticus Finch at the markets. Check them out. Beautiful creations that really stood out as special in the marketplace. I love how we are doing similar things: using vintage fabric, following our crafty hearts, but each of our creations is so uniquely our own style. Shelley put me on to a delicious vintage shop called Eclectic that was an absolute joy to fossick in. It was very cool to recognise their work from seeing in online and then get to see it sparkle in all it’s real-time glory. Loving feeling part of something greater than me. Women making the world anew through our various work and following our passions.

down south - part one

Ooof. A quiet day. There’s no wind, even the waves are gentle today. Everybody is out adventuring and small ones are sleeping. I love this quiet as much as i love the noise of a vibrant housefull. Right now is perfect to reflect on our time in the South Island. Come wander with me.


I want to give you a true taste of the beauty so this’ll be in two instalments.


The latest mama-made 3/4 shorts. Cover those knees i say. Helps them from getting too beat up, more cover from mosquitos and the sun.

Stephens Bay. 45 minutes north of Nelson at the top of the South Island of NZ. As many beaches – all stunning, many deserted by people and highly populated by sea critters – as we cared to explore. All within walking distance. Lots of swimming and exploring.

Time slowed down, taking us with it. Family. And the sun shone.





It made a lovely change to swim in the sea without being buffeted by the surf (like we are at home on the West Coast of the North Island). Peaceful. It was a peaceful time.


Sunday, December 27, 2009

tastes like summer

5 punnets of freshly picked strawberries for 5 dollars. Wahoo! .

Strawberry jam, as many as we could eat and I whizzed some up with organic natural yoghurt and a teensy bit of icing sugar to make this delicious frozen yoghurt. Truly the taste of summer.
I’ve tracked down our closest strawberry farm. We walked into their packing shed and there was an overwhelming smell of strawberry, berries as far as the eye could see, friendly people and as many strawberries as Jed could eat for free. We’ll be going back before the season is over.

and a note from the future: all future 'strawberry freezes' as they have come to be known, only had pureed strawberries, banana and a tiny bit of yoghurt...really really good summer stuff. And no sugar.

I have a house full of old friends unexpectedly turned up on a roadtrip. I have sneaked upstairs to blog at high speed. I can hear the clink of bottles, Cuban music, the laughter of children, the low buzz of adults chatting, the fizzing of the barbecue, the surf and the evening song of the birds. Time to go harvest some salad. I have some mean looking beetroot calling me.

Tomorrow: tales from the South Island of NZ. Crafty goodness and such beauty. I am looking forward to responding to comments too. I figured out how. Ahem, yes, 'tis true i am not the techie head folks might think i am!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

small summer shirt and SEVEN DAYS

This won't be topical to those of you in the northern snowy climes but here in the far south of the world, it's summer and our bit of ozone layer is a tad thin. This means fast burn times, high rates of melanoma and living by the beach and being often outside as we are, means covering up is often the order of the day. We avoid being out in the sun from 12-4'ish but still, the search for a pattern for a good long sleeved loose fitting summer shirt for small people is on.

I have searched the net and through every pattern book known to sewing kind and came up with almost nothing. New Look 6298 is the only one that came close. I made a size four, added
the long sleeves and next time round the length needs to be longer for my big-little guy. Note to self: Don't cut out two of the same pattern before you've trialled it. Oops. Anyone need a summer shirt? Oh, and go for a different colour, this one looked like mini surgical scrubs before i put the buttons on. Not my most brilliant crafting this week (and there has been ALOT of crafting) but the shirt does the trick and he manages to make it look good.


Why is it that pattern cover design is often so wierd?!


I am just back from a sojourn to the South Island of NZ and have a backlog of blog post ideas begging to be created so i will endeavour to post daily from now through into the New Year. Seven days of crafty goodness, growMama musings and tales from the frontlines of summer coming right up.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

finding meaning





Jed has been wanting his very own bag. And so, i made one. Finished pics next time.

Call me grinch if you like. My challenge is to find meaning in a holiday i find chaotic and consumerist. I think i am doing pretty well. Crafting up a storm is very good therapy!



Happy Solstice folks and may the holiday period be fun, peaceful and healing for us all.

Friday, December 18, 2009

thrifty finds of the day

One of our rare jaunts into 'town' today. A very loud and colourful expletive was let loose by the small one in the toddler pool today. Ahem. We heard it from some teens on our way into the pool. I was so shocked i laughed like a crazy woman. We both just about split our sides. And then we had the talk. You know the one. I asked J to choose another way to say what he was feeling. 'Stinking smell'. Much better.
A little bit of high speed browsing in between appointments unearthed this gorgeous hoodie in Jed's size. Not mama's. Darn it! Only the french could unleash such cuteness on the world.




These delectable crocheted pot holders. New, and destined to make someone i know very happy one day soon.

And this lovely piece of unused handmade yumminess. It's a funny thing, any time i start to wear out my current favourite cloth bag and start to think about making one...one appears for between 10 cents and three dollars at a thrift shop. Can't argue with that. I reckon it means i am in tune with the universe. Well, that amongst other things.

A little rummaging was a much welcome respite and balance to the bigger questions circling my brain lately.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

pollution close to home

Piha and Kare Kare lagoons have been listed in last weekend’s papers in the top ten most polluted places to swim. No secret to those of us who live here.

I see townie kids playing in the Piha lagoon often. It is vaguely signposted as unsafe to swim in. It has an E Coli bacteria rating consistently skyhigh. I’ve given up warning folks, mostly they look at me like i am Ms Killjoy Central or one of the infamous rampant radical extremist ecologist piha dweller types (they’d be half right) and look around at the pristine bush, clear water and tiny settlement here and just keep doing it. Kids get sick. Some badly.

I was away from NZ for 16 years and even though i worked in the environmental/social justice field i too, fell for the international clean green NZ image. I came back to a job with Greenpeace NZ and that image got blown clean out of the water. The reality is a harsher reality. Something like 60% of NZ’s rivers are unsafe to swim in. Why? Industrial farming, septic refuse, factories still pumping crap upstream...And here, i live in probably THE most iconic NZ beach, representing that clean green NZ...and we can't swim in our most prominent stream/lagoon. CRAZIness. There is always the surf and pools at low tide.

Parents of small people, never fear, the sea is clean and the surf lifeguards are amazing at what they do, swim between the flags or head for the Marawhara stream in North Piha. Ask at the shop (yes, we do have one and very good it is too). That stream is often sheltered from the crazy wind, is shallow enough for small ones, has sand dunes for sliding down but is still on the beach and adults can slink around the corner to the United surfclub flags for a swim. If in doubt, the Waitakere Council has the water testing results on their website.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

what we're up to


Evening beach runs. Too nice to be in bed.

Loving this book: Andrew Crowe's Which New Zealand insect? We'll find a new bug and go running for the book. (After marvelling at it awhile).
Stick insects, three different kinds of weta, spittle bugs, golden hunting wasp, crickets, cicadas....and check this monster out:

Found very dead on our bush path alongside the house. I thought it was a centipede but it's a very large Dobsonfly larvae. Never even heard of them. Love that i am learning so much alongside Jed as he explores the world. May we never stop learning or marvelling.


Pink sparkly playdough. Used hibiscus based fruit tea (undrinkable in my book) as a dye, added high craft-quality gold glitter...et voila, fairy playdough. It also smells divine. Hours are spent creating whole worlds and eavesdropping and /or joining in is highly recommended.




We have seven of these felt balls now. I have a rescue kitty, Pema,who is on the rather fluffy side (long story how such a creature came to be associated with me in ) and we've been brushing her to help with the moulting now that it's finally warming up. What to do with all that gorgeous soft fur in the brush? Roll it in my palms and make Pema felt balls of course! Jed thinks it hilarious and what could be more natural a plaything?
Does this qualify as re-purposing do you think?


Monday, December 7, 2009

summer and a SMS giveaway winner

Summer is finally here. I think. Still hedging my bets after so very much rain and chilliness but people are swimming, the anise hyssop is all abloom, the pohutakawa’s are flowering their red red goodness, and the stick insects are mating up a storm on my deck.



"Give me some space i just having a sit and a think, mama"
"You can sit here and try it with me if you like"




What a wonderful thing it has been to be part of the sew mama sew giveaway. I have so relished the late night exploring of other giveaway offerings. Actually, it wasn’t so much the giveaway itself but a doorway into other cool blogs and inspiring ideas. Hosting a giveaway myself has been a blessing too. I am glad i asked the question about what blogging meant to everyone, i thoroughly loved reading the comments. I feel rejuvenated, it was great to read the feedback on some of the things i make and i leave the giveaway feeling more connected into a fabulous community of women online.
SO, the winner of the Sew mama sew giveaway is: )....Molly. Thank you for sharing yourself with me/us and Congratulations! If you read this Molly, please email me via the blog, you don't have your email address accesible on your settings! I'll have to go to runner up if i don't hear from you in a week's time.
Ended up putting the favourites into a hat – if i could afford to send out more gifts i would!






Friday, December 4, 2009

asking for it

I got a bit caught up in the 'oh no, i have no money' headspace this week. I plum forgot how rich i am in so many ways - none of which need money. I mean, sure, i could do with some more but letting that stress me out is surely counterproductive? Since i left the commune life where i was nicely cushioned in an alternate reality (Twin Oaks Community, where i could get away with gardening in a sequin ballgown - lets face it when else IS there to wear a gorgeous frock?!), i have been busy making my peace with 'normal life' i guess you would call it. It's not pretty, my transition, at times. And, it's long - i left 3 years ago and still say 'we' when referring to Twin Oaks.
I caught my internal dialogue and took a few deep breaths. Funny what goes on in the head. Happiness is not in the circumstance but how we greet it.
Besides, happiness is overrated. It's true! There is so much more depth to life than the quest for an impossible always happy life.

We saw a rainbow this morning, a kick-ass hung around for hours kind of a rainbow and we sent out some wishes.
I sent out my desire for a bunch of old buttons for projects brewing and on the table.
I threw in a request for some basic colour, good quality fabric. And a few groovy retro prints for my GrowMama special trousers and smocks.
I didn't tell a soul. And, yes i was that specific.

And look what came my way. Jed and i found jars of buttons priced where we could reach them AND the next day a dear friend and fellow craftswoman called to say she'd cleared out her fabric stash and there was a bag of it coming my way. She managed to get it to me that night, all the way out here...I'm picky for GrowMama's wares but this fabric is just what i needed. Yay Nat.

You'd think after years of this kind of thing i'd get jaded, but no...the wonder and magic of it is still awesome to behold.

Thanks universe.



And thanks SewMamaSew giveaway folks...loving those comments -more on that soon.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day....

I love to give, so i was excited to see the Giveaway Day post by SewMamaSew. Even more excited to be taking part in it this year. I am fairly new to this blogging milarky and started GrowMama blog not knowing of any others like it. I wanted to share my journey into magical crafty mamahood with others, creating a situation where i HAVE to write, alleviate my isolation living by a tucked away wild west NZ beach and connect with my tribe scattered all over the globe. And lo, the world has opened up to me. I am inspired daily and carry with me now a healthy feeling of solidarity thanks to many in blog world. That’s a special thing. And this is one way i can give back.


The GrowMama Retro Baby Bundle-
We all have or know a small person who’d look super cute in this wee bundle of retro yumminess. I make hardwearing, cloth nappy fitting, comfortable, groovy toddler clothes and bibs with high quality retro fabric or upcycled deliciousness. So each piece i make is unique. These are gender non-specific (i think!) and easy to wash and wear. It is my pleasure to offer this bundle to you.
Three GrowMama bibs: retro cotton backed with new flannel.
Groovy wide leg trousers: new corduroy with vintage trim on cuffs and pockets. Size One, but my boy wore his as three quarter pants into spring.

Plus something for the retro mama: The craziness of the holiday season often weighs on the shoulders of the mama’s of the western world and i wanted to offer something for the mama behind the retro baby. I found a kitchen handtowel similar to this in a thrift shop and have raided my groaning stash of retro fabric scraps and vintage buttons to make a bunch as gifts. This hangs on your oven rail. I like the everyday-useful-beautiful aesthetic.

Leave a comment and tell me what blogs (either reading blogs or writing them) mean to you...and we’ll pick the winner of the GrowMama Retro Baby bundle by family consensus. I am always happy to ship internationally.



Thanks for stopping by!